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Testosterone Therapy Does Not Improve Vascular Function

MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2021 -- For men with low-normal serum testosterone levels, exercise training improves endothelium-dependent vascular function, but testosterone administration does not, according to a study published online Feb. 22 in Hypertension.

Lauren C. Chasland, from The University of Western Australia in Perth, and colleagues compared the impacts of testosterone and exercise training, alone and in combination, on endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilation percentage and endothelium-independent glyceryl trinitrate percentage responses in a 12-week trial. Eighty men aged 50 to 70 years with low-normal serum testosterone levels and waist circumference ≥95 cm were randomly assigned to either testosterone (transdermal) or matching placebo and to either supervised center-based exercise or no exercise.

The researchers found that serum testosterone levels were increased with testosterone, with 62 percent of subjects in the testosterone group having levels >14 nmol/L; no impact on testosterone levels was seen for placebo treatment. Increased flow-mediated dilation percentage was seen with exercise training, while testosterone had no impact on flow-mediated dilation, nor was it additive to exercise. No significant exercise or drug main effects were seen on glyceryl trinitrate responses.

"While we conclude that exercise improves vascular function in middle-to-older aged men with low-normal testosterone levels, caution should be applied when prescribing testosterone if the primary aim is improvement in artery function and health," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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